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Eric Winston Has An Interesting Idea About Expanding League Revenue

A big thankyouverymuch to Elizabeth, who forwarded me this link from PFT. For all the talk about revenue distribution and the inevitable expansion to an 18 game season, I haven't read much, if anything, about a simple yet novel alternative method for increasing the revenue pie: Place the broadcast rights for the NFL's Thursday Night game(s) up for auction instead of keeping it tethered to the league's flagship network. A network that, for all of the NFL's saturation, still isn't readily available across the country.

Interesting thought, isn't it? Even more interesting to Texans fans is the guy who's espousing it: Eric Winston.

Sayeth The Caveman:

"If you are the NFL and we are looking for new revenue, why don’t we bid out the Thursday night game?" Winston asked during a Tuesday appearance on ProFootballTalk Live. "Thursday is supposed to be the most popular night for everyone to watch TV. They have a game that has become more and more popular.

"Maybe some of these other networks would like to get into NFL football. I guarantee that game would bring in more than $500 million alone just from playing half a season."

Wouldn't the NFL and, by extension the NFLPA, stand to gain a whole lot more money than they'd lose by moving the game from the NFL Network to a truly national outlet?  A bigger audience, more advertising dollars, greater exposure...where's the downside? 

Is it simply that the NFL believes that the primary reason people subscribe to the NFL Network is the ability to see a handful of Thursday Night games every year?  That may have been the driving force behind many fans' initial decision to suscribe, but with the NFL Network's ever growing slate of original programming (including but not limited to its pre-game show, its post-game show, its coverage of the NFL Combine, its coverage of the NFL Draft, and various other products not available on any other channel), I don't believe that Thursday Night game is the sole draw anymore.  Could the owners really be making more money from that Thursday Night game being aired on the NFL Network than they'd make by selling the broadcast rights to NBC, FOX, CBS, ABC, ESPN, or another suitor?

I feel like I must be missing something here.